Mutharika makes changes to the police force

The Malawi Police Service has shifted around at least 20 senior officers in what critics have described as positioning of loyal officers in the right places.

Acting Inspector General of Police (IG) Duncan Mwapasa on Tuesday released a transfer order of Officers-In-charge; Station Officers and others in departments such as the confidential registry.

The transfer order we have seen shows officers being moved from the Central Region to the Southern Region and vice versa. It also shows some officers being uprooted from the Northern Region to the Southern Region.

Political analyst Humphreys Mvula yesterday described the transfers as a political strategy aimed at putting certain officers in strategic positions as President Peter Mutharika strives to maintain power.

Police spokesperson James Kadadzera

But National Police spokesperson Senior Superintendent James Kadadzera yesterday said the move has nothing to do with politics.

He said: “Every time there are transfers the media quote us as saying the transfers are normal. But I want to put it this way; senior officers can be transferred now and again. And these are not strange transfers. These transfers are done based on management discretion.

“Management has seen it important that these officers be transferred to other places because this will also help them in their process of expanding their career since they will be working with various officers…”

But Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) vice-chairperson Gift Trapence questioned the motive behind the shake-ups and claimed it is meant to stifle activists.

Trapence—who police arrested alongside HRDC Central Region chairperson McDonald Sembereka and the coalition’s leader Timothy Mtambo for planning to close State House on March 25 this year—further said that the staff changes will not scare them from holding demonstrations and speaking against vices in President Mutharika’s government.

He said: “The timing is bad. People will be justified to question the motive behind their transfers.  Malawians will not be afraid of anything. We urge the authorities to stop politicking with our institutions. “HRDC will fight against any politicisation of government institutions whether police or the Army or any other institutions”.